Ancient Monuments

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Castle Hills: a motte and bailey castle 700m north east of St Mary and All Saint's Church

A Scheduled Monument in Fillongley, Warwickshire

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Latitude: 52.4868 / 52°29'12"N

Longitude: -1.5818 / 1°34'54"W

OS Eastings: 428497.070923

OS Northings: 287737.096908

OS Grid: SP284877

Mapcode National: GBR 5JT.2WT

Mapcode Global: VHBWJ.JRNG

Entry Name: Castle Hills: a motte and bailey castle 700m NE of St Mary and All Saint's Church

Scheduled Date: 12 February 1925

Last Amended: 3 October 1994

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1011367

English Heritage Legacy ID: 21546

County: Warwickshire

Civil Parish: Fillongley

Traditional County: Warwickshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Warwickshire

Church of England Parish: Fillongley St Mary and All Saints

Church of England Diocese: Coventry


The monument includes the motte and bailey castle and an area of ridge and
furrow cultivation. It is situated to the north east of the village of
Fillongley and approximately 90m north east of Berryfields Farm.

The motte and bailey castle is located on fairly low-lying ground and has been
built adjacent to a small tributary of the Didgley Brook. The motte is
situated at the northern end of the bailey and has been artificially raised.
The flat-topped motte is oval-shaped and there is a slight gradient on its
summit from north east-south west. The motte measures 54m north west-south
east and 45m north east-south west and it is up to 4m high. There is an
earthen bank around the outer edge of the motte's summit forming part of its
defences. The bank rises approximately 2m above the surface of the motte. The
northern, eastern and southern sides of the motte are defended by a 12m wide
ditch. There is no surface evidence for a ditch to the west of the motte. The
ditch may have been infilled and will survive as a buried feature, although it
is possible that the stream channel provided a natural defensive feature along
the western edge of the motte. The southern part of the motte ditch separates
the motte from the bailey to the south west.

The bailey has a rectangular plan and covers an area of 0.35ha. It is slightly
raised above the surrounding land and its surface is mostly level. The bailey
ditch is approximately 7m wide and is best preserved along its eastern side.
There is a small pond at the southern corner of the bailey and, as a result,
there is no surface evidence for the inner edge of the ditch in this area. The
southern bailey ditch has been infilled but it remains visible as a shallow
depression. There is no surface evidence for a ditch along the western edge of
the bailey and here again the river channel may have been incorporated into
the defences. Access to the motte and bailey castle is currently by means of
causeways at the NNW and SSW edges of the site. The SSW causeway is thought to
mark the site of the original entrance.

To the north and north east of the motte and bailey castle are the earthwork
remains of ridge and furrow cultivation. The ridge and furrow respects the
castle defences and this relationship illustrates the impact of the castle on
the land use of the surrounding area. A 20m wide sample area of the ridge and
furrow is included in the scheduling in order to preserve this relationship.
The motte and bailey castle was known as 'Old Fillongley' during the reign of
Henry III(1216-72), indicating that the castle had probably been abandoned by
this time.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Motte and bailey castles are medieval fortifications introduced into Britain
by the Normans. They comprised a large conical mound of earth or rubble, the
motte, surmounted by a palisade and a stone or timber tower. In a majority of
examples an embanked enclosure containing additional buildings, the bailey,
adjoined the motte. Motte castles and motte-and-bailey castles acted as
garrison forts during offensive military operations, as strongholds, and, in
many cases, as aristocratic residences and as centres of local or royal
administration. Built in towns, villages and open countryside, motte and
bailey castles generally occupied strategic positions dominating their
immediate locality and, as a result, are the most visually impressive
monuments of the early post-Conquest period surviving in the modern landscape.
Over 600 motte castles or motte-and-bailey castles are recorded nationally,
with examples known from most regions. As one of a restricted range of
recognised early post-Conquest monuments, they are particularly important for
the study of Norman Britain and the development of the feudal system. Although
many were occupied for only a short period of time, motte castles continued to
be built and occupied from the 11th to the 13th centuries, after which they
were superseded by other types of castle.

Castle Hills survives well and is a good example of a motte and bailey castle.
Documentary references indicate that the site dates to the early medieval
period and was occupied for only a short time. This will ensure that
archaeological deposits from this period will not have been disturbed by later
buildings on the site. Structural and artefactual evidence will, therefore,
be preserved beneath the ground surface within the castle providing important
information for the economy of the castle's inhabitants.

Source: Historic England


Books and journals
Gardner, W, The Victoria History of the County of Warwickshire: Fillongley, (1904), 375
Chatwin, P B, 'Transactions of the Birmingham Archaeological Society' in Fillongley, , Vol. 67, (1947), 23

Source: Historic England

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